Article by: Lauren Z.
Photo by: Annika A.
IASAS is an intrinsic aspect of high-school life; it shapes the dynamic of our school and contributes significantly to the extracurricular scene, while evoking palpable school spirit. As many are aware, IASAS participants in ISM are eligible to purchase a varsity jacket at the Bearcat Den, which in turn, has transformed into a part of ISM’s “material culture”.
These jackets are undoubtedly treated with excessive reverence. They seem to be worth more than a mere jacket should be worth, which explains the myriad of unspoken precepts students are seemingly expected to follow when wearing them.
When asked about some of the supposed expectations of wearing IASAS jackets, Sophomore Joaquin L. replied, “I’ve heard Cultural Convention delegates shouldn’t “flex” their jackets as much as athletes. Personally, I think that everyone has a unique talent, and we should all respect that.” Junior Annie L. claimed, “I have heard that you shouldn’t wear your own jacket every single day. However, I don’t agree with this rule, since its its hard work to be qualified for any IASAS event. Junior Taku H. added that there is also, “a taboo that you shouldn’t wear someone else’s jacket” and that “you shouldn’t wear your own jacket before you compete.”
With all these IASAS jacket-related taboos, there is quite a lot of controversy regarding their rationales. Most believe that students should have absolute freedom when it comes to wearing their jackets. After all, they underwent an extensive amount of training, practicing, and competing to earn it. Junior Keerthana B. abides by this perspective, claiming, “At the end of the day, its a jacket, and whether you have it or not doesn’t define your achievements.” Taku H. adds, “ An IASAS jacket is something you earn; there’s always gonna be opposing forces against things you work hard for. So I personally think people deserve to wear them.”
Senior William H. also believes the jacket is overvalued. He says, “I think students should have a choice of how often they want to wear it, just like how we’re allowed to choose our uniform colors.” On the contrary, an anonymous student believes, “ISM should just eliminate varsity jackets and reward IASAS participants with patches like Singapore American School to avoid all the drama.”
Although it may seem like many ISM students hold strong opinions about varsity jackets, the majority of students are apathetic. Rather than criticizing those who wear their jackets and travel shirts, we should praise them for representing our school, and showcasing Bearcat talent.